MiamiHerald / Tucked in the corner of Concourse F at Miami International Airport, the Club America Lounge bills itself as an escape from the common throng, with elevated status secured for a mere $40 entry fee.
Judging by reviews on sites like Yelp (1.5 stars), however, the lounge’s offerings of dry cookies, warm soda, polyester armchairs and slow Wi-Fi didn’t exactly make visitors feel like VIPs.
While that hardly qualifies as a crime, something else that went on at the obscure lounge does. It was the headquarters for a family-run money-laundering operation that skimmed millions from airport revenue.
A married couple last week admitted to using the lounge in an operation that stole millions of dollars, using shadow bank accounts to loot funds intended for Miami-Dade’s Aviation Department. Former Club America account manager Elena Iglesias, and her contractor husband, Lazaro Iglesias, pleaded guilty to organized fraud, grand theft, and two counts of money laundering. After they surrender next month, they’ll each serve three years in prison and have to pay $2.6 million in restitution. Once out, they’ll be placed on 10 years of probation.